We just returned from a trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Norris geysers were spectacular, as always. Some of the geysers are big and showy; others are small but still impressive.
The picture below is of Steamboat Geyser. Gray stone, dappled with red and brown-colored rocks, surrounds the vent.
In 2020, this geyser erupted 48 times. Water shoots 300+ feet into the air, making it the tallest in the world. This year, once again, we just missed its latest eruption. It went off on May 31, 2021, the day we drove to the park from Bend, Oregon.
Here’s an overview of the basin. If you don’t have time to walk the trails, You’ll get great views from this observation area.
Here’s a view from the trail. There are geysers everywhere you look in the Norris Geyser Basin.
You will also see wonderful thermophile “paintings” alongside the trail. I loved the green colors here!
This is Minute Geyser and it used to go off regularly. Unfortunately, many years ago tourists threw rocks into its vent so now it doesn’t erupt as often.
This is one of my favorite little geysers. Vixen Geyser’s opening is only about a foot across and the rocks surrounding it look like they’re covered with gray fuzz. This geyser is not colorful, but it goes off often. As soon as I walked up to it, it erupted.
Here’s a video of Vixen Geyser erupting right on cue. It’s like it knew I was there waiting for the show.
Map of Norris Geyser Basin
The map below shows all of the main thermal features in Norris Geyser Basin. The two main trails vary in length, with the Porcelain Basin being the shorter of the two. The Back Basin trail is 1.5 miles and the Porcelain Basin trail is 0.5 miles.
We visited the basin at 7:15 am and hardly anyone was there. If you go at midday in the busy season, expect to park outside the parking area alongside the main road. You may have to walk quite a ways to reach the trailhead. Consider going in the early morning, late afternoon, or early evening, when crowds are lighter.
One more thing…
Just a little reminder to be prepared for the changeable weather within Yellowstone. The last time I visited this trail, it snowed. I forgot to bring a change of clothes and I got soaked. Unfortunately, that’s when I found out I could not buy pants at any of the stores within the park. Uh oh! This time I stashed a change of clothes in our car before we left home. 😀